Protecting Your Teeth: Mouthguards

Do you or your child participate in sports? If so, a mouthguard is absolutely essential in order to prevent accidental trauma. Imagine the dramatic difference that losing your front teeth would have on daily activities such as talking, chewing, and smiling–your life would change! Preventing such injuries from happening is largely due to the protective nature of mouthguards.

Mouthguards help cushion a blow to the face, minimizing trauma and protecting the soft tissues of the tongue, lip, cheek and jaw. They should be a part of your standard equipment from an early age and for any sport where facial injury is a possibility–from contact sports such as boxing to non-contact sports such as gymnastics. Mouthguards are especially important for people who have braces. Blunt trauma could damage the brackets, and a mouthguard also forms a barrier between braces and your gums/lips/cheeks, preventing further injury. 

Mouthguards come in various designs and materials. The best type to get would be on that is custom-made by your dentist because they are created for fit and comfort. Custom mouthguards can be more expensive, so if you are seeking a more affordable option, look no further than  boil-and-bite or stock mouthguards. Boil-and-bite, as the name suggests, can be bought at sporting good stores and are adapted to the shape of your mouth after being softened through boiling. Stock mouthguards come pre-formed and do not require boiling. As a downside, they are often bulky and do not fit as well as custom or boil-and-bite mouthguards. 

For regular care of your mouthguard, rinse before and after each use or brush with toothpaste. Store and transport the mouthguard in a sturdy container with vents so it can dry properly and prevent bacteria from forming. Make sure to bring your mouthguard to your regular dental exams so the dentist can evaluate the fit and possible give it a deep cleaning. 

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